Mohammad Rafiq Ahmed makes ‘pagdis’ (headgear) offered to Lord Mahakal at Ujjain by the Scindias, the royal family of Gwalior.
The tradition of offering ‘pagdis’ to the deity on special occasions, started by Maharaj Mahadji Shinde (Scindia) more than 100 years ago, is still continuing.
Rafiq is the fifth generation of his family which is serving the royal clan by making headgears.
Keeping up with the tradition, the Scindias have recently offered a ‘pagdi’ to Lord Mahakal during the ongoing Simhastha.
The 70-year-old man called Rafiq Bhai, who is making headgears for the deity for more than 50 years, says, “Centuries ago, when Maharaj Mahadji Shinde (Scindia) began to offer prayers at Mahakal temple, his ‘pagdi’ fell before the idol. The Maharaj then decided to offer it to the lord, and the tradition is still continuing.”
He further says, “It takes me 10/12 days to make a ‘pagdi’. I’ve to be very particular about choosing the cloth used in it and maintain cleanliness, as it’s offered to God. It doesn’t matter which religion I belong to. I cannot afford to be careless.”
Rafiq makes at least two ‘pagdis’ every year, believing that by doing so he is serving God.
He says, “Sports and youth welfare minister of the state Yashodhara Raje Scindia is maintaining the tradition of offering Shindeshahi pagdi to the lord. She gives me the order for ‘pagdis’ in advance, and I keep them ready before time. I am serving God, and I know he will take care of me.”